Sunday, 18 August 2019

Book ~ "The Dogs of Cuba" (2019) Emmy Park

From Goodreads ~ Discover the lives of Cuba's dogs through the lens of award-winning photographer Emmy Park. 

This book is full of beautiful and raw images; explore the relationship between Cubans and their canine companions that roam the colorful streets, iconic landmarks, and remote areas of Cuba. 

Learn about local animal rescue organizations that provide care and medical attention to dogs without homes, and why they need support. Featuring every Cuban province, be transported into the daily lives of dogs against the backdrop of rugged streets and lush landscapes.

Emmy Park is a NYC-based fashion, portrait and pet photographer.  She went in Havana in 2015 to document the Cuban skateboarding scene.  Noticing dogs everywhere, she ended up touring Cuba's four provinces taking pictures of the dogs.  She learned that there were no laws for the protection of domestic animals in Cuba, leading to the abuse and abandonment of dogs.

Through social media, she connected with animal rescue organizations in Cuba and decided to use her photography to raise awareness of the plight of the dogs in Cuba.  She hopes that seeing the images will inspire you to join her movement in helping the dogs of Cuba.

I love reading books about animals so this book caught my eye.  Plus because Park is a photographer, I was interested in seeing how a professional would capture the pictures.  The book is full-colour pictures.  Some of the dogs are obviously well-loved and well-cared for.  But it's obvious that some aren't ... they are skinny and one seemed to be looking for food around some garbage.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Shaydid, Grace O'Malley's, Toronto, ON

Sister Sarah and I went to Cuba in April 2018 ... it was an east coast theme with Shaydid, a cover band from Halifax, NS.  They were playing at Grace O'Malley's this weekend so I went tonight (I've seen them there a few times since our Cuba trip).

They are a fun enthusiastic band and play a variety of songs that everyone knows.  They came on about 10pm.

Once the tables were removed from the dance floor, it didn't take long for it to fill up.  By the end of the night (1am), the dance floor was jammed!

Brazen Head Pub, Toronto, ON

After Gord and I left the Toronto Wolfpack game, we headed to the Brazen Head Pub in Liberty Village for an early supper.  It was a busy spot!

Toronto Wolfpack 46, Rochdale Hornets 0, Lamport Stadium, Toronto, ON

The Toronto Wolfpack RLFC is a Canadian professional rugby league club, based in here Toronto, which competes in the British Rugby Football League system.  In 2018, the club competed in the Championship, having begun to play in 2017 in League 1 and won a promotion in its inaugural season.  Gord and I have been going to the most of the games since 2017 and have been season ticket holders for the last two years.

The club is noted as being the first North American team to play in the Rugby Football League system, the first fully professional rugby league team in Canada and the world's first transatlantic rugby league team.  Their home stadium is Lamport Stadium (aka "The Den"), which is just a couple blocks from where Gord and I live.

Today the Wolfpack were playing the Rochdale Hornets.  Going into today's game, the Wolfpack was in first place with just one loss and Rochdale was in last place with just one win.

Here are Gord and I ...

Gord's friend and former work colleague, Roger, and Ben, Roger's dad, joined us.

The Rochdale Hornets had fans at the game.

The Wolfpack Dance Squad entertained ... today's theme was Country Day.

Jefferson, the Wolfpack mascot, and Gordo were decked out in their country gear.

Friday, 16 August 2019

Book ~ "The Dog Went Over the Mountain: Travels With Albie: An American Journey" (2019) Peter Zheutlin

From Goodreads ~ On the cusp of turning 65, a man and his beloved rescue dog of similar vintage take a poignant, often bemusing, and keenly observed journey across America and discover a big-hearted, welcoming country filled with memorable characters, a new-found appreciation for the life they temporarily left behind, and a determination to live more fully in the moment as old age looms. 

Inspired by John Steinbeck’s "Travels with Charley", Zheutlin, hits the road for a 9,000-mile odyssey with Albie to experience all that American is and means today. 

I've read and enjoyed a couple books by Zheutlin about rescue dogs.  In this book, he writes about a trip across the U.S. he made with his rescue dog, Albie.

Zheutlin had read John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley and decided when he was in his mid-60s to do the same with Albie.  After about a year of planning, he and Albie drive around the U.S.

This book is a diary of sorts of Zheutlin and Albie's journey ... the places they see, the people they meet and the adventures they have.  He found that because he had a dog with him people would more easily will talk with him because most are drawn to dogs.

I thought this book was just okay.  I think an American would enjoy it more because Zheutlin was describing in detail the various U.S. places he and Albie were exploring and the people and politics there were encountering and I had a hard time relating.

Topbox - August 2019

My August Topbox arrived today.

For only $12 a month, you will receive a Topbox with 4 carefully selected, indulgent, beauty products. Then test the products in the comfort of your own home.

 Here's what I received ...

  • Suncoatgirl water-based peel off nail polish (Girl Power)
  • Medusa's Make-Up Eyeshadow - Mystical Eye Dust (Medusa) 
  • YESNA Pumpkin Turmeric 2-in-1 Radiance Polishing Mask
  • belif Eye Bomb
  • Thursday, 15 August 2019

    Ipsy Glam Bag - August 2019

    My August Ipsy Glam Bag arrived today.
    • 4 to 5 beauty products in a collectible makeup bag 
    • Monthly videos showing you how to get the Look 
    • Win free products in contests and giveaways

    Subscriptions are $10US a month or $110US for a year.  Shipping is free in the U.S. and $4.95US per month to Canada.

    Here's what I received ...

  • Make-up bag
  • ADESSE All Day Lip Crème in Beverly Blvd
  • SPACE CASE COSMETICS Eyeshadow in Intense Stargasm
  • SOL DE JANEIRO Coco Cabana Body Cream
  • PIXI BY PETRA Fresh Face Blush in Peach Parfait
  • INC.REDIBLE Jelly Shot Lip Quencher in Ex Revenge
  • Brazen Head Pub, Toronto, ON

    I had supper this evening at the Brazen Head Pub in Liberty Village.  It's been a while since I've been there.

    It was a nice evening so I sat on the patio.

    I ordered wings with Buffalo hot sauce.  They were okay.  The sauce was a bit hot and the ranch dipping sauce toned them down.

    Amy was my server.  She was friendly and chatty.

    Brazen Head Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Wednesday, 14 August 2019

    Tackle Talks with the Toronto Wolfpack, Rec Room, Toronto, ON

    This evening I attended Tackle Talks with the Toronto Wolfpack.

    Join the Toronto Wolfpack live at The Rec Room for a special Tackle Talks event on Wednesday, August 14. The event will feature panels with Wolfpack players Greg Worthington, Darcy Lussick, Gareth O'Brien and Anthony Mullally and coaches and will feature a live Q & A. Fans will have the chance to meet and take photos with players after the show. It will be hosted by Wolfpack in-stadium host Rob Cardno, with doors opening at 6 p.m. and the event itself getting underway at 7. Tickets are FREE with RSVP.

    There were free pictures available ... you could get them autographed afterwards.

    The Betfred Championship League Leaders’ Shield, which the Wolfpack won a couple weeks ago, was on display.

    Me and the shield!

    Jefferson, the Wolfpack mascot, was hanging out with the crowd beforehand ... everyone loves Jefferson!

    Roselle Desserts, Toronto, ON

    Roselle Desserts opened recently in my 'hood at Queen W/Dovercourt and I stopped in this afternoon to check it out.

    When I walked in, I noticed that it was bright and airy ... and smelled amazing!

    Indeed it does!

    Tuesday, 13 August 2019

    Book ~ "The Shawshank Redemption Revealed: How One Story Keeps Hope Alive" (2019) Mark Dawidziak

    From Goodreads ~ A 25th anniversary history and celebration of "The Shawshank Redemption", one of the most cherished American films of the late twentieth century and one of the finest movies made from a Stephen King story. 

    The movie not only boasts a great story, it has a great backstory, starting with the dollar deal that eventually led King and co-stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman to put their trust in a largely untested director making his first feature film. 

    Although the film received mostly positive reviews on its release in September 1994, the box office was disappointing and it failed to win many awards. But as Andy tells Red in the film, "no good thing ever dies." The movie found new life, reaching an ever-growing audience on cable and home video (through word of mouth, it became one of the top-rented movies of 1995). 

    Each year, "The Shawshank Redemption" rises in polls asking film fans to name their favorite movies. It has become nothing less than this generation's The Grapes of Wrath, an inspiring story about keeping hope alive in bleak times and under the most horrendous conditions. 

    The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favourite movies.  Amazingly when it came out 25 years ago, it didn't do so well.  Over the years, because it's been on TV so much and word of mouth encouraged rentals, it has grown in popularity.  In fact, it is now the highest rated movie of all time on IMDB!

    In honour of its 25th anniversary (it came out in 1994), this book details anything and everything you've ever wanted to know about the movie.  The book is divided into four sections:
    1. The differences between Stephen King's novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption and the movie and King talking about Shawshank
    2. The production and making of the movie
    3. Post production, release and reviews
    4. Interpretation, afterlife and legacy

    There are interviews with major stars like Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.  But there are also interviews with actors who had minor roles (such as the actor who played the golf pro who was having an affair with Andy's wife, the actress who played Andy's cheating wife, the actress who played the teller at the bank at the end who had just fourteen words to say and many more) and with local residents of Mansfield, Ohio, where the movie was filmed, many of whom had parts as extras along with other actors.  It was interesting to get the scoop on how it affect their lives and the town during and after.

    Any time it comes on TV, I get "Shawshanked" ... yes, that is apparently a verb meaning sucked into watching it yet again regardless of where it is in the movie.  Do you?  It's been a while since I've seen it so I'm going to have to watch it soon since I now have all this insight.

    Monday, 12 August 2019

    Book ~ "Incredibull Stella: How the Love of a Pit Bull Rescued a Family" (2019) Marika Meeks and Elizabeth Ridley

    From Goodreads ~ While recovering from a serious illness, Marika Meeks adopted an abandoned pit bull puppy and named her Stella. Together, they healed each other ...

    Marika Meeks fell in love with Stella the moment she saw her. The adorable pit bull puppy had been abandoned in a cold field in winter - but her warm, friendly eyes and boundless affection could melt anyone's heart. Even so, Marika wasn't sure she was ready to adopt a dog. As a busy entrepreneur, wife and mother of two daughters, Marika's life was crazy already. She was recovering from Stage 3 breast cancer, and her family was still reeling from her brush with mortality. But Marika couldn't deny the way Stella made her feel - the pure joy of this sweet-natured dog's unconditional love - and she knew in her heart what her family needed.

    In a leap of faith, the Meekses welcomed Stella into their home, and thanks to this incredible dog, the daily pressures of work, stress, and Marika's health problems seemed to slip away. As Marika's cancer receded and her family found renewed vitality, she began sharing Stella's story with the world. Now an international social media star, Stella helps Marika to spread their heartfelt message of advocating for pit bull breed awareness, explaining the benefits of pet ownership, and supporting shelters and other organizations that save animals' lives.

    I love reading books about animals and how could I resist the picture of Stella on the cover of this book?!

    Marika was a mother, wife and owner of some restaurants in Indiana.  She discovered she had breast cancer when she was in her forties and got treatment for it.  She was considered cancer-free but still carried the emotional baggage regarding her mortality along with the insecurities of her childhood.  Though Brian, her second husband, had made it clear when they got married a couple years ago that he didn't want to ever have a dog, she suddenly yearned to have one.

    Marika found Stella, a pit bull puppy, a couple years later in 2016 and was drawn to her.  Brian wanted her to be happy and stressfree and the family adopted Stella.  Despite the reputation that pit bulls have, Stella is a sweet and caring dog.  Marika realized how much calmer and less anxious she is when she is with Stella and had her certified as an emotional support animal.

    In an attempt to "give back", Marika and her family start fostering pit bulls.  Marika also wants to raise awareness that pit bulls don't deserve their reputation and to encourage others to adopt rescue animals.

    I liked this book and the writing style.  I thought it was interesting and found there was a good balance between Marika's story, Stella's story, the positive awareness of pit bulls and encouraging the adoption of rescue animals (I volunteer with a cat rescue). 

    For more information, you can check out Marika and Stella's website, Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram account.

    Here are some pictures from her book ... look at that face!!

    Sunday, 11 August 2019

    Book ~ "Rescuing Riley, Saving Myself: A Man and His Dog's Struggle to Find Salvation" (2013) Zachary Anderegg and Pete Nelson

    From Goodreads ~ While hiking on a solo vacation in a remote, uninhabitable region of Arizona, Zachary Anderegg happened upon Riley, an emaciated puppy clinging to life, at the bottom of a 350-foot canyon. 

    In a daring act of humanity that trumped the deliberate savagery behind Riley’s presence in such a place, Zak single-handedly orchestrated a delicate rescue. 

    What didn’t come out in the initial burst of publicity this story received is that Zak and Riley’s destinies were intertwined long before they improbably found each other. For much of Zak’s childhood, he was at the bottom of a veritable canyon himself - a canyon whose imprisoning depth and darkness was created by bullies who just wouldn’t quit and parents who weren’t capable of love. 

    From the age of five, Zak was everyone’s favorite target. When Zak came upon Riley, the puppy’s condition bespoke his abusers’ handiwork - three shotgun pellets embedded beneath his skin, teeth turned permanently black from malnutrition. 

    The meeting was one of a man and a dog singularly suited to save each other. As a former U.S. Marine sergeant, Zak was one of only a few people with the mettle and physical wherewithal to get Riley out. And in rescuing him, Zak was also attempting to save himself, conquering the currents of cruelty that swelled beneath his early life and always threatened to drown him.

    In June 2010, Zak was hiking in the canyons of Arizona and happened to look down and saw a puppy in a hole.  He rappelled down and found the puppy was near death ... it was obvious the puppy had been there for a while.  Zak rappelled back up, headed to a store for food and water for the puppy and returned that day, moving him onto a blanket for the night, promising to be back the next day to rescue him.

    On day two when Zak went back to rescue the puppy

    Zak managed to get the puppy out of the hole and took him to a local vet.  After a couple of days of fluids and care, the puppy was ready to leave ... and Zak took him home to be part of his family and named him Riley.

    Here is a happy and healthy Riley today ...

    Zak assumed that someone had intentionally lowered the puppy into the hole to die.  This brought back feelings and emotions in him of when he was bullied as a child and had no one to turn to.  Despite the title of this book, this is more a story about Zak, his childhood, being bullied, his non-responsive parents and still carrying the emotional baggage than rescuing and adopting Riley.  So while an interesting story, it wasn't quite what I was expecting ... I thought it would be more about Riley than Zak.  It's obvious that Riley is doing well nine years later ... I hope Zak has found the peace and closure he has been looking for.